MOSCOW, May 14. /TASS/. Israeli Ambassador to Russia Alexander Ben Zvi said on Friday he sees positive signals in regular consultations with the Russian foreign ministry on the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and hopes Moscow’s contacts with Palestinian groups will help make Hamas stop its shelling attacks.
He said he had conducted working meetings with Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin.
"I visited the foreign ministry today again. We continue to discuss these topics [the Palestinian-Israeli conflict], proposals and initiatives, but I’d refrain from going into details. Such talks are conducted indeed," he said in an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station. "It is a dialogue, with each side expressing its point of view. We don’t always agree with each other but we are in dialogue and we can see certain positive trends."
The Israeli diplomat expressed the hope that Russia’s "relations with various Palestinian groups" would make it possible for Moscow to have some influence on Hamas and make it stop shelling Israel’s territory. "Everyone must show restraint to stop the shelling of Israeli territory," he noted.
Israel and Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip have been exchanging missile strikes since May 10, following an outburst of unrest near the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City in early May. Clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police were triggered by an Israeli court ruling to seize dwelling houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood from Arab families who have been living there for more than 50 years in favor of Jewish resettlers who had reportedly owned these buildings before 1948.
As many as 122 Palestinians, including 32 minors and 20 women, have reportedly been killed in Israeli strikes since Monday. At least 900 people have been wounded. Palestinian radicals’ strikes have claimed the lives of at least nine Israeli nationals.